While it sounds like an adorable little Southern town, Debacle, Texas is not a real location, but rather the state in which we find ourselves after a week of frustrating RV problems. I considered holding off on the blogging for a little while, to let things settle and perhaps improve, but then I considered a couple things. First, y’all seem to like the posts where I share the struggles we have, probably because it provides a more well-rounded description to our adventures. Second, to those who delight in the experience of schadenfreude, (and heaven know that I do) here’s the chance to laugh at our blunders. And finally, for Mikki. We visited Mikki when we were living near Fort Worth, and she warned us that Texas was some sort of mid-west Tut’s Tomb, with misery befalling all those who move here. We thought she was just being overdramatic….until it started happening to us!
***Note to readers: From this point on is lots of tech talk. And bitching. If you’re not up for that, this is the time to abort the mission! 🙂
We had high hopes for our week, starting off on Monday with a visit to a well-regarded RV and Auto repair shop just a few miles up the road from the park we were in. We dropped off the RV with a list of to-do items, and spent the day at a park in town. We were happy to get a call early in the day to tell us she was ready, but we almost fell over when we saw the bill. The labor costs were insane, and in one stop, we spent our whole year’s budget for repairs. But, they fixed a couple items that had really been plaguing us, like a badly leaking faucet and toilet and a squealing generator. They told us they would work up an estimate for the brake work we still needed, and for the wiring so that we can tow our new Subaru behind the RV.
We headed back to the RV park, and moved into a private, covered lot. The park we’re in has both nightly rentals spots and lots owned by full-time residents. One of the lots was up for sale, and vacant. I reached out to the owner, who agreed to let us park in the spot while we completed our roof repairs. (Another issue that only started up in Texas!) He was happy to let us use it for free, but warned us that the electricity was not turned on. No problem, we said, we will use our generator when we need to charge up our batteries.
So, based on the theme of this story, can you guess what happened when we tried to fire up the generator, the same generator that had performed flawlessly the day before, after its tune-up? Yep. Not a damn thing. We called up the repair shop and made plans to head in the next morning. Then, we dined by lantern light and tried to make a romantic evening out of it.
The next morning, we returned to the shop and they found that the generator was experiencing a very common starting issue, and luckily, one that we can easily fix in the future. While they were diagnosing the generator thing, they pointed out a possible issue with the batteries, which we categorized as “something to think about later.” We returned to the park, and with the recommendation to plug into electric for the batteries, and no rain predicted for a least 5 days, we went back to a nightly, uncovered spot.
My little piddler on the roof worked his heart out, and got the roof repair completed, which should solve that concern. (Please, Texas, please!) We still had the issue of the additional RV work that needed to be done, and although I made an appointment with the expensive place, I started researching other ideas. While I was out for a walk in the park, I met a mobile RV repair dude who really seemed to know his stuff. I asked if he’d take a look at our issues to see if it was something he could do.
While he admitted the towing wiring was above his head, he did steer us immediately in the right direction on our batteries, and told us to get them out, and now! They were starting to bow out on the sides, which is a sign of all bad things. If we left them in, we could damage other systems in the RV. So, we spent the afternoon removing the batteries and tracking down a dealer where we can get new ones. Today’s ramblings will take us 50 miles west, to Huntsville, TX, to pick up our expensive little set of lessons learned.
So, as it stands, we are going to return to the shop to get wired for towing, and then we are going to try to get the heck out of Dodge. Thankfully, with a mobile life, we have options about where we have service done. I called up a repair shop in Tucson, AZ (Sooter’s, should you ever find yourself there!) that we absolutely LOVED when we were there in the spring. They have low prices and competent staff who invited us to watch all the repairs and maintenance, so we could learn a little something. We talked with the tech who last worked on our brakes, who feels that we’re safe to travel via flat highways to come get service there.
We think we’ll spend a few weeks in Tucson. At the moment, the weather in original-plan New Mexico is frigid, and not conducive to RV life, but hopefully will warm up by March. We have peeps in Tucson, and there’s plenty of free and inexpensive camping options. Our beloved friends Dave and Max can also visit us there, and we would be in town for the super-fun Tucson Rodeo Week. More than anything, we need a little distance from Texas, and we hope curse blows off us as we make for Arizona!